Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


Harold L. Kane, a member of one of the honored pioneer families of the Pajaro valley, is following the example set him by his father, and Watsonville numbers him among its leading fruit growers and shippers. He was born June 15, 1892, and has always lived in this community, being thoroughly appreciative of its advantages and attractions. He is the only son in the family of five children born to John F. and Fannie (West) Kane, the former a native of San Francisco, California, and the latter of the state of Illinois. The father passed away in 1917 and is survived by the mother. John Kane, the paternal grandfather, emigrated from Ireland to the United States, becoming one of the early orchardists of the Pajaro valley, and his ranch, five miles east of Watsonville, is still in possession of the family. During the pioneer epoch John F. Kane was employed in the store of O. D. Stoesser, who was engaged in general merchandising in Watsonville, and in 1905 Mr. Kane started the fruit shipping business here. He was a sagacious, farsighted business man of the highest integrity, and a leader in his chosen line of activity. He was connected with the Knights of Columbus, belonging to Council No. 953, and was also a member of Watsonville Parlor, No. 65, of the Native Sons of the Golden West.

After completing his high school course Harold L. Kane went to San Francisco for the purpose of acquiring a knowledge of the fruit commission business and obtained a clerkship in the office of the J. K. Armsby Company. On his return to Watsonville he joined his father in the fruit business, to which he succeeded at the death of its founder, and afterward admitted S. C. Sprague to a partnership. This relationship has since been continued and the firm of Kane & Sprague maintains a large packing plant in Watsonville. In 1923 they shipped three hundred and fifty cars of fruit and vegetables and their business is operated on an extensive scale. Mr. Sprague shipped one of the first cars of lettuce sent from Watsonville and has seen this industry grow from three or four cars yearly to one thousand. He remembers when but one shipment a year was made of Bartlett pears and at the present time a thousand tons of this fruit are sent from Watsonville to various sections of the country. He has witnessed the development of the winter pear varieties from one to fifty carloads annually and has lived to see the evolution of the dried apple industry, when the crude methods of drying the fruit were replaced by the modern system of evaporation.

Mr. Kane joined Company L, Second Infantry, California National Guard, and was sent to the Mexican border in 1916 at the time of the Villa uprising. He is a faithful communicant of the Catholic church and belongs to Watsonville Council, No. 953, Knights of Columbus. He is a member of Watsonville Parlor, No. 65, Native Sons of the Golden West, and is also connected with the local Exchange Club. Mr. Kane is imbued with the western spirit of enterprise and loyalty, and that he is a young man of high character is indicated by the place which he holds in the esteem of those who have known him from boyhood to the present time.

Source: History of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, California : cradle of California's history and romance : dating from the planting of the cross of Christendom upon the shores of Monterey Bay by Fr. Junipero Serra, and those intrepid adventurers who accompanied him, down to the present day. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1925, 890 pgs.